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« Alligators and Roller Coaster Rides: Getting into the Flow | Main | Wikis for Curriculum Development and Instructional Materials »

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Amy Lenzo

Dear Beth,

Great questions! I really enjoyed this post; thanks for writing it.

When the role of digital curator is taken on in relation to a specific group's interests another title I love and have used myself is 'Community Tech Steward" (I know you were part of the conversations that coined the term).

As I understand it, the role builds from the webmistress/ master/ goddess model and expands to function as a sort of a 'bridge' between a group and the technology that serves them. As designer, archivist, host, data organizer and presenter, online participant, etc. it encompasses many of the roles you describe and embodies something wonderful about mutual learning and collaboration, since the term 'steward' implies a level of caring and can be held by any number of people rather than denoting a singular title or individual identity.

Another comment, about the editing function online. Rubel says it's not so much about cutting as it is unearthing the gems and making them shine (I'm paraphrasing here). I hope I'm not being too nit-picky here, but that sounds very much like cutting to me - albeit the fine cutting a jeweler does to reveal the brilliance of a gemstone or the chipping away of all that is not a sculptor's vision.

As anyone knows who works with online material, it is crucial to discern between what information is essential and belongs on a main page and what should be moved to a secondary (or even tertiary) position or deleted altogether. Brevity and clarity are crucial in order for material to be initially accessed in an online environment and writers often have a different agenda or are just unfamiliar with online reading patterns. The editing process is a little different online than it is in print, but it is still recognizable as editing. So I guess I'm saying that the roles of editing and curating (or organizing, tagging, etc.) needn't be conflated - they are different functions & both of them make valuable contributions.

Amy Gahran

Great post, Beth

Seems to me that at different times and for different projects I've played all three roles you've described. My personal predilection is to be a snacker -- albeit a voracious one, and in some areas my snacks are pretty huge and deep bites. However, I regularly act as editor and curator, depending on what a project needs.

Just another data point, FWIW

- Amy Gahran


Beth Kanter

Another example of this is balletvox.org

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